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Hoffman, I.Z. (1992). Reply to Orange. Psychoanal. Dial., 2(4):567-570.

(1992). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 2(4):567-570

Reply to Orange Related Papers

Irwin Z. Hoffman, Ph.D.

In the light of her expressed agreement with my concerns, I find it disappointing that Dr. Orange pays virtually no attention to the various specific ways in which I tried to define and address them in my paper. She refers to “constructivism, as espoused by Hoffman,” but her points have little or no relation to the sense in which I used the term. Instead they seem to be addressed to other unnamed theorists or philosophers who, cumulatively, have apparently created the meaning that the term has for the author. Much of what Orange says could have been said on the basis of the title of my paper alone. Similarly, with respect to the term “epistemology,” Orange says that if psychoanalytic constructivists want to use that term in a way that differs from what she describes as its usual meaning in philosophy, they should say so. I would submit that my discussion (Hoffman, 1991a) makes clear that I am using the term in a more commonsense way that is consistent with previous use of the term in the psychoanalytic literature. It is also consistent with various dictionary definitions, for example, “The theory or science of the method or grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity” (Merriam-Webster, 1956). Moreover, since Orange refers to a point in Jessica Benjamin's commentary on my paper that she feels is similar to her own questioning of the application of epistemology to psychoanalytic issues and since I made a statement in my reply to Benjamin on that very point (Hoffman, 1991bp. 536), it might have been clarifying had Orange taken that statement as her point of departure.

It is true that I used the terms perspectivism and constructivism interchangeably in my paper. In Orange's argument, however, the alleged superiority of the former term, or of “perspectival realism,” is established by reducing the term constructivism to absurdity.

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